Could it be turning into a problem today or a bigger problem in the future? Is deforestation becoming a problem for New Hampshire? New Hampshire, with 78. 4% forest cover, is currently the second most forested state in the country with Maine being the first. However, the forest cover has been steadily declining since the 1980s. “This loss is about 17,500 acres per year, mostly due to land development” and “Every day, the average person in the USA will consume about 4. 5 pounds of wood, that's a little over a third of a two-by-four.
Over the course of a year, that adds up to a 16-18" tree, a hundred feet tall” (Forest Service). Each year, the nation plants more than 5 new trees for each American. Wood is a renewable resource. As long as forests are not converted by development, harvesting trees does not result in an increase of carbon in the atmosphere. Today there are certain foundations and things to do to prevent deforestation. Although we need wood to cut down for certain things, we plant three trees for every tree we cut down.
This is called the 3 to 1 Ratio by Society Protecting New Hampshire Forest’s. About one hundred years ago the White Mountains didn’t look so well according to the many photographs taken of the mountain sides stripped of all the trees of what was once a virgin forest. The forest wasn’t looking so well with the “streams choked with silt from eroding hillsides, and ash from forest fires falling on nearby towns” (Govatski 2009). Factory owners had to deal with the floods after too much rain and then the droughts in the summer. Hotel wners weren’t getting any customers from the looks of things and complaints and by the twentieth century, “a growing consensus between widely diverse interests was building that something had to be done in the White Mountains” (Govatski 2009). With still much interest in the eastern mountains, a Congressional action engaged at the turn of the last century to put off forest preserves in the massive areas of public domain land in the West. Still a lot of people form the East pursued ways to create such Forests. It mostly just focused on the southern Appalachians and the White Mountains.
After a lot of failed presentations, many New England and Eastern organizations worked together to obtain an act introduced by Congressman John W. Weeks of Massachusetts. The Weeks Act was passed on Feb. 15th of 1911, signed by President Taft, which authorized “Federal purchase of forest lands at the head of navigable streams. The Act also provided for cooperation in fire control between federal and state authorities” (Govatski 2009). The Weeks Act was believed to have put in action when the “textile mills and rivers were starting to get polluted” (Pruyn).
In an interview with Michele Pruyn at PSU, she noted that because of this water pollution and loss of tourists really woke a lot of New Hampshire people and the State and Federal Government. “This Weeks Act allowed the Federal and State Government to control all deforestation in NH” (Pruyn). Now that they were in charge of the forests, private land owners and factory owners were not allowed to cut wherever they wanted to or cut as many trees as they wanted. The Government had to look it over and enforce the 3 to 1 ratio rule and ban cutting near rivers and lakes because of water pollution.
By cutting trees near water, debris could then easily get into the water and the air would then get smoggy from the cutting of the trees. Now people are only aloud to clear dead or only trees that are in polluted forests and after they would plant three trees for every tree they cut. Some say the Weeks Act saved the forests of New Hampshire. The law established a National Forest Reservation Commision to determine what lands would be purchased. It seized 9 million dollars for every 5 million acres of forest land in the Appalachians and another million for the White Mountains. By 1918 land purchase in New Hampshire culminated in the formation of the White Mountain National Forest. These were “the lands that nobody wanted” but the Weeks Law saved” (PSU). Since then New Hampshire has had a one hundred percent growth rate. Today people are concerned about what they call the “Northern Pass” and what will it do o the land what’s going to happen. You see many stickers on the bumpers of cars everywhere and sign in yards of all people who are against it but there are also a lot of people who believe that it will help very much.
In support, people would have access to 1,200 megawatts of cheap, low-carbon, reusable hydro power which is equivalent to the Seabrook Nuclear Power Station. It would have a “New high-voltage transmission and converter capacity adding needed robustness to the North American power grid” (NNEV). Also, it will be a new source of property taxes in economically-challenged areas of NH. The Northern Pass is believed that it bring a “10 percent reduction in CO2 2018” (NNEV). Many land owners of New Hampshire are opposed to the situation relating the Northern Pass.
Citizens of NH believe that it will bring a “Negative environmental impact of the towers, right-of-way, and construction” (NNEV). Also, there aren’t many people who want a big space of cleared land near their homes with power lines and have to look at that every day. Some say that the visual impact will discourage tourism which is the regions number 1 industry. It is also believed that it will bring “Negative health effects from the electro-magnetic radiation on people living nearby and on the wildlife” NNEV).
There are certainly many opinions on this ordeal and for some people you won’t ever be able to change their minds and that’s something they will always live with. The Northern Pass brings a negative effect on people regarding deforestation in NH and gives some people a positive effect to people who don’t think deforestation is a problem in NH. I think New Hampshire has so many people that want to cherish the forests here forever and never let it die and there are so many groups out there who are fighting for the land just like in the war only this is for trees and no guns are included.
There is a “Conservation Alliance that contributes $25,000 to help protect 400+ acres on Mount Monadnock” (Forest Society). It ended up being successful. Also, The Forest Society in New Hampshire is also trying to preserve 404 acres in Jaffrey and Marlborough that have old beautiful hiking trails and precious wildlife. These efforts will also protect the mountain view of Monadnock that you can see across the region. “Mount Monadnock is one of the most hiked mountains in the Western Hemisphere” (Forest Society). On your way driving to Plymouth, NH, you can see a large cloud of smoke coming from what looks like a factory.
That place is called the Bridgewater Power Company and they are known for using “biomass for energy and using renewable resource with healthy transportation which is huge” (Pruyn). This place was probably started to be heard of in 1987 when it began commercial operations. “Power was constructed and brought into service in 11 months for less than $1400 per installed kilowatt” (BPP 2011). The plant uses biomass fuel in the form of wood chips. This fuel supply originates as low value forestry waste from the regional logging industry being a renewable resource.
The smoke that comes out of the top of the power plant isn’t anything to worry about either. It is just water vapor going into the air. “The trees you burn are equal to the trees you plant and no carbon dioxide will go into the air if you do that” (Pruyn). I think this is a great way to conserve the forest in New Hampshire and gives people a warm feeling that people are making large efforts to preserve the forest. As a lot of people think that the large number (17,500) of acres that is deforested each year is a scary number, many others believe it to be getting better each year instead of worse.
There are always positive and negative thinking towards changes in our state like the Northern Pass. It might make some people not very happy but I may be a good change for us. I believe that with all of the organizations and the Weeks Act, New Hampshire forests will be here for a very long time if we take care of it properly and it won’t be much of a problem for us.
BP "Bridgewater Power Plant - New Hampshire, USA. " PSEG We Make Things Work for You. 2011. Web. 01 Dec. 2011. http://www. pseg. com/family/holdings/global/plants/bridgewater. jsp
Boesch, Nate. The Next Best Time to Plant a Tree: Deforestation in NH. " Conservation New Hampshire. June 2010. Web. 01 Dec. 2011. http://conservationnh. org/land/the-next-best-time-to-plant-a-tree-deforestation-in-nh/
"Forest Society : Press Releases. " Forest Society: Welcome. 2004-2011. Web. 01 Dec. 2011. http://www. forestsociety. org/
Govatski, David. "Weeks Act. " Home Page. White Mountain History, 2009. Web. 30 Nov. 2011. http://whitemountainhistory. org/Weeks_Act. html
NNEV. "Top 5 Reasons to Support or Oppose Proposed a?? Northern Passa?? Transmission Line | Facebook. " Northern New England Villages, 1 Feb. 011. Web. 01 Dec. 2011. http://www. facebook. com/notes/northern-new-england-villages/top-5-reasons-to-support-or-oppose-proposed-northern-pass-transmission-line/133708956696756
State, Plymouth. "Weeks Act Centennial 2011. " Plymouth State University. Web. 01 Dec. 2011. http://www. plymouth. edu/center-for-rural-partnerships/weeks-act/ Service, Forest.
"Frequently Asked Questions. " US Forest Service - Caring for the Land and Serving People. Web. 01 Dec. 2011. http://www. fs. fed. us/r9/forests/white_mountain/conservationed/faqs. html Interview: Michele Pruyn. Plymouth State Environmentalist